The Indian Army has reportedly received the first lot of Sig Sauer assault rifles to boost its counter-terrorism operations.
The army has started inducting the first batch of US-made Sig Sauer SIG716 7.62x51mm assault rifles on 10 December, reported Indian news agency Asian News International (ANI).
The army’s Northern Command will use the rifles for combat missions in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Top Indian Army sources were quoted by ANI as saying: “The first lot of 10,000 SiG 716 assault rifles has arrived in India and has been sent to the Northern Command.”
Sig Sauer will soon deliver another lot of 10,000 rifles. The US firm was awarded a contract worth Rs7bn ($98.72m) to supply around 72,000 assault rifles to the Indian Armed Forces.
India is acquiring the rifles under the fast-track procurement (FTP) programme.
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The new rifles will replace the existing Indian Small Arms System (Insas) 5.56x45mm rifles used by the forces and manufactured locally by the Ordnance Factories Board.
The Indian Army will get the majority of the rifles with a total of 66,000 units. The navy and the airforce will obtain 2,000 and 4,000 units respectively.
SIG716 uses the 7.62mm cartridge and provides enhanced functionality and reliability.
The rifle has an advanced operating system that decreases excessive heat and carbon fouling. It features an adjustable gas valve to increase or decrease gas flow.
The news agency also stated that the army has started receiving ammunition for its sniper rifles.
India will also manufacture AK-203 assault rifles in collaboration with Russia. The plan is to produce more than 700,000 of these rifles.